Money will help creek take turn for the better
The money is here, nearly $700,000, and experts are studying how best to use it to restore a 10-mile stretch of the Upper Truckee River.
After years of cattle grazing, railroad construction and other development, the river — the largest tributary of Lake Tahoe — does not look or function the way it did when John C. Fremont, an engineer for the federal government, first spied the Lake Tahoe Basin in February 1844.
The goal is to repair some of the damage done to the river, which is straighter, wider and deeper than it should be. Rerouting its bed or other measures may be recommended by experts so it can once again effectively filter river water before it flows to the lake.
Sediment and nutrients, such as phosphorous, entering Tahoe via the Upper Truckee and other rivers and creeks is one factor causing it to lose more than a foot of its clarity each year, experts say.
The Tahoe Resource Conservation District announced Tuesday it has received more than $1.5 million from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to improve the watershed of the river.
The Environmental Improvement Program, crafted in 1997, lists more than 900 environmental projects designed to protect the lake.
About $415,000 of the grant from the bureau will fund the study of a seven-mile stretch of the river, a report due by January 2004. Experts will analyze the river, from the bridge at Elks Club Drive and Highway 50 out to Christmas Valley, to determine hot spots that need work.
Ongoing is an assessment of a three-mile stretch of the river downstream from the bridge at Elks Club. It was funded by a separate grant secured by the conservation district. A draft report on that section of the Upper Truckee, called the airport reach, is due at the end of the month. It will be circulated to the public before the final report is expected in January.
The rest of the $1.5 million grant will help fund an Angora Creek restoration project near View Circle in Meyers (Angora feeds into the Upper Truckee), erosion control work on private land (Best Management Practices), water quality educational outreach and monitoring of the Upper Truckee.
A group has existed for about eight years that pays close attention to the river’s watershed, which reaches from the lake to the south rim of the basin and covers 58 square miles. The Upper Truckee River Watershed Focus Group, a coalition of environmental groups and residents, will next meet in City Council chambers on Oct. 16 at 10 a.m.
— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A flash flood watch has been issued for the Lake Tahoe Basin.